Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A Pure White Rosebud - Physically

"Thou must purpose to be a white and pure rose - a bud that is still closed and one that will not give away the key to her heart until the time be right." - The King to his daughter 
[excerpt from Before You Meet Prince Charming]


  KEY VERSES:
   1 Timothy 4:12  Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. 

  2 Timothy 2:22  Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 

   1 Timothy 5:1 & 2  Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity. 
[emphasis mine]

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*NOTE: I realize that there are younger girls reading my blog - most likely more than I think. As such I will make note here that there are many things on the topic of purity that would not be age appropriate  for the younger minds. 
Because of this, I have purposed not to broach any subjects that, while well and good for older young ladies to hear and ponder, would compromise the sweet, childlike innocence of younger girls.
I do not wish to inform early the younger girls of things their parents will surely explain to them in time.
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pure white rosebud
   Physical purity - the position of being physically clean, unsoiled, chaste, untarnished, and without reproach concerning purity.

   I think many of us from Conservative "Christian" homes are brought up knowing we need to stay physically pure - you know, save our kisses and such for our future spouses. But, as we shall see, physical purity is much more than that.

   Physical purity starts with a conscious decision one makes in their mind. They must then use their will to make sure they stick to their decision/commitment. Throughout this time, they will have been keeping, and will need to go on keeping, their emotions in check. [We will get into the emotions part during the next purity post about Emotional Purity.]
   Without making a conscious decision to keep oneself physically pure, and the determination to see that commitment through, it will be quite difficult to remain pure. You must fully engage your mind, will and emotions in the fight to remain pure.
   If you are a young person, still living with your parents, then let me encourage you - parents are good safeguards and have good wisdom in the area of purity (I speak from experience). They know our weaknesses and are ready and willing to offer advice, encouragement, and exhortation on this subject - if we will listen and accept their words. They also can really protect us from impure things, people, songs, movies, ideas, etc.
   Each year, things and circumstances will get harder and more complicated - it's life. But, each year, we must strive (and learn) to look more and more to the Lord for his help. As I have said before, the path of purity is not an easy-come-easy-go sort of walk - no, instead it requires us to be fully alert, wholly determined, and completely committed to it.

   The idea of committing to be pure, and able to present yourself as undefiled at the marriage alter, is not to be "just as pure as I have to be" or be "pure by the skin of your teeth" or "get away with as much as possible without crossing the line too much" - NO indeed! (heaven forbid!) - But rather to be as completely pure and holy as you possibly can!
   Many people today have the mindset (in all area's of life) of, "I'll do just as much as I have to" & "I'll get away with as much as I can without crossing the line too much". Which is a VERY wrong mindset to have. In all areas of life our mindset should be, "I'll do as much as I need to - more if necessary  & "I'll keep as far away from the line as possible so I will be as safe as I can be".

   I personally made a decision, and also committed, to remain wholly pure (physically & emotionally) when I was 12. Now, 5 years down the road, I am still determined (more than ever) to keep my commitment. I wouldn't trade my purity in for the world! It is very precious, especially now as I see and hear how impure people are these days!

   I have observed that many excellent points are easier made through analogies. Somehow, things click with most people when they read them. So let me now give you 2 similar "cake" analogies to illustrate a few different key points:

1 - There, on the counter, lies a large cake pan full of batter waiting to be baked. It is a white cake, Anna's favorite. Sarah, Anna's mother, was making it for her precious daughter earlier in the day. The oven is not yet hot enough, and Sarah hears her phone ringing in another room. She believes Anna is outside playing, so she is content to leave the batter there, sitting on the counter in the kitchen, as she leaves for but a moment to answer an important phone call in another room.
   A few moments later, Anna herself enters the kitchen. Upon seeing the cake batter, her eyes brighten, then dim. "White cake? There is no fun in having a white cake - I think I'll add some food coloring......Perhaps all the colors!" So Anna proceeds to add many different food colors to the batter; mixing them in just a bit. "Goodness, the batter sure is a weird color. I didn't mean for that to happen." Anna thought confusedly, "Well, if I put it in the oven now, mother will not know until later." She then quickly pops the batter into the oven and goes to her room. Her mother returns sees that Anna put the batter in the oven, and thinking how responsible her girl was, she goes to lay down on her bed - a headache pounding against her poor forehead..
   About an hour later, while her mother is napping, Anna pulls the cake from the oven, and lets it cool a bit before she turns it onto a rack. When Sarah awoke, she turns the cake out onto a cooling rack, and is shocked to find that the cake that had been made and kept pure and white under her care - was disgustingly a weird shade of grey!
   Anna enters the kitchen and is surprised that her "little bit" of food coloring could have had such a drastic effect on the cake. But, it is now too late to fix it. The colors have been thoroughly baked into the cake.

   This first little story illustrates that even a little bit of impurity makes one's whole self impure. Even just crossing the line a little can cause heartache and regret. So it is better to stay well within the "lines" of purity, so to speak, than to just barely cross over into impurity (sin). Because in the realm of purity - once you cross over - your purity will not ever be truly whole again, and you will never be the same. Indeed, our gracious heavenly Father will forgive you if you are penitent - but you will not, can not, receive your purity anew so that you may start all over. So it is much better to keep (guard) your heart (purity) with all vigilance (Proverbs 4:23)!

2 - Monica's fiance is coming to eat dinner with her and her family. Excitedly, she bakes his favorite cake for dessert - cinnamon spice cake - while her family goes out shopping. Some friends of her come over quite unexpectedly in the afternoon, about two hours before her fiance is due to arrive. Her friends bring over their cousin, Frank, so that Monica can finally meet someone they have talked so much about. The aroma of Monica's cake floats through the room, and the friends ask Monica what she had baked. She explained that she had made a cake for the special evening
  Her friends ask to see her new necklace and bracelet her fiance had bought her, and Frank decides to stay in the living room. Unfortunately, besides the fact that Frank is, well, not such a great chap, he is quite hungry. So, in his usual impolite manner, he wanders into the kitchen, trying to "discreetly" find something to eat. Finding nothing in the cabinets that appeal to him, he turns and sees Monica's special cake. The smell is quite inviting, and so, the selfish chap cuts himself a good sized slice and satisfies his hunger.
   He is finishing the last crumbs when Monica and his cousins are walking out of Monica's room. As they pass by the kitchen, one of Monica's friends bends over to smell the sweet aroma of spice cake, and notices with some shock, that a piece is missing. She looks over at Frank, and sees that he is definitely enjoying a mouthful of something. She exclaims, "Oh, Frank! How could you?" Her sister and Monica turn to see what the matter is and in one quick glance, Monica knows. She claps her hand to her mouth in despair  for her cake is ruined - and there is no time to bake another!
   Her friends apologize for their rude cousin, but they know apologies will not help the cake. There is no way to fill in the missing piece. Monica will either have to serve her fiance a partially eaten cake - or none at all. 

   This story illustrates some key points. Proverbs 4:23 Above everything else, guard your heart; for it is the source of life's consequences. 
1 - If you let your guard down, in regards to purity, things can (and tend to) happen.
2 - Once some of your purity has been "taken" (or you give it away) - you cannot get it back.
3 - There are some not-so-good people out there who could care less if they took your purity away.
4 - Would you really wish to give your future spouse only partial purity? I assume not! Just as you would not wish to serve your Beloved a cake that some stranger has partially eaten!

I hope these 2 stories proved to illustrate the points I made quite precisely =)

   I leave you now with something to ponder, taken from the book The Teenage Years of Jesus Christ by Jerry Ross, "The goal [as far as purity goes] of every Christian teenager should be to arrive at the marriage alter pure and chaste. If you do not, you lose a degree of credibility that you never fully regain."
   

Friday, November 16, 2012

November 2012 Guest Post

This month's guest post comes to us from Nela. I hope you enjoy reading what Nela has to say!


What is Joy & Why do We Need it?


                                    Source: Uploaded by user via Nela on Pinterest
Joy...a feeling of bliss and happiness that burns in our souls and shines through our countenances when we are most content. Like a flower bud bursting open in the springtime. 

But it can also be hard to feel "joyful" when we are going through a hard time. We give into temptation, letting the feelings of doubt and despair enter our minds, making us wallow in self-pity.

But that's why we have a Savior. Even as we walk through "the valley of the shadow of death" He'll be there with us, giving the encouragement that we need as we listen and apply it to our everyday lives. 

So why do we need joy? Because it is what gives us hope. For without hope, we would have no faith, and without faith we would be hopelessly lost in a fallen world. But since Christ died for us over 2,000 years ago on a cross that should have been meant for us, we can now have eternal fellowship with Him. 
So what better joy is there, knowing that the Lord (the Creator of the universe and beyond) is on your side, and will help sustain you in your darkest hour? Nothing.

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Hello! My name's Marianela (but everyone calls me Nella for short), and I'm a blogger over at "Beloved Star". Some of my passions and hobbies are cooking, baking, reading, writing, martial arts, exercising, photography, and of course, blogging. ;) I am also a sinner saved by the grace of God, through faith in the work of His Son, Jesus Christ. So come over and visit for awhile. I would love to meet you. :) 

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I hope you all were encouraged by Nela's guest post today!
Thank you Nela for guest posting here, may the Lord bless you as you strive to live your life wholeheartedly for Him! ;-)

Friday, November 9, 2012

A Pure White Rosebud

"Thou must purpose to be a white and pure rose - a bud that is still closed and one that will not give away the key to her heart until the time be right." - The King to his daughter 
[excerpt from Before You Meet Prince Charming]

   Purity - voted as one of the top 5 topics my viewers wanted to see posts on - and a topic that seems almost overdue on a blog about living a wholehearted life, don't you think ;-)

   However, such a deep and important subject must have more than one little post ;-) Therefore, in this post I intend to lay the foundation as to what purity really and truly is, share some facts about purity, and also share my thoughts on the matter. In the subsequent purity post, I will talk about physical purity. Then, in the last (for the time being) post on purity, I will discuss emotional purity - which is at the very core of being pure.

The key verses for my 3 post series on Purity are:
   1 Timothy 4:12  Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. 

  2 Timothy 2:22  Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 

   1 Timothy 5:1 & 2  Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity. 
[emphasis mine]

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White Rosebud - PURITY
   In our society today, purity is one very valuable thing most people do not have - one quite obvious reason for this is that it is not valued enough. Purity used to be highly valued. When looking for a mate, purity was greatly searched for. Now, purity - or chastity -  in our young people especially, is rare - yet it shines brightly in those few who have and hold onto it.

   To get a good idea of what exactly the words "Pure", "Purity", "Chaste", & "Chastity" mean, I will give you some definitions from Noah Webster's 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language:

PURE: 
   ~ Clear; free from mixture
   ~ Free from moral defilement; without spot; not sullied or tarnished; holy
   ~ Genuine; real; unmixed; separate from any other subject or from everything foreign
   ~ Free from guilt; chaste; ceremonially clean; unpolluted; free from anything improper

PURITY:
   ~ Freedom from foreign admixture; cleanness; freedom from foulness or dirt
   ~ Freedom from guilt or the defilement of sin; innocence; chastity; 
   ~ Freedom from contamination
 
 CHASTE:
   ~ (the word denotes purity)
   ~ Undefiled; pure from all unlawful commerce of sexes
   ~ Pure

CHASTITY:
   ~ Purity of the body
   ~ Freedom from bad mixture
   ~ Purity; unadulterated state

   Out of all these definitions, the ones that, in my opinion, are the strongest explanations of purity are; free from moral defilement, not sullied, innocent, not contaminated, & undefiled. Just by these 5 definitions, one can clearly see that in this world - many people are far from pure. In fact, many people seem to enjoy being impure! Our world is so depraved! (Rom 1:28)

   The path of purity is not an easy one, my friend. The world says,"Do what feels good. What you want to do. What makes you happy." And Satan, the father of lies, tries his best to deceive us into thinking, "This will be okay, it's not too bad." BUT - as Believers, we must do what makes our Lord happy. We must strive to do what is right. We must not despair, for we have GOD on our side!

   I have read many books on the subject of purity, and, quite frankly, I believe all young people should. With so much against us - songs, movies, books, the world in general, Satan, our own flesh - that Biblically well grounded advice is helpful.

   A very important note is that our Lord wants us to be pure (see the 3 verses at the top). He even wants us to think about only that which is pure (Philippians 4:8). In Proverbs 30:5 it says, "Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him."  Meditating on His Word is a good way to redirect your thoughts when they start going astray.

   I am very happy that I live in a home wherein I am protected from the polluting influences of the world. The things I have learned about the world in the past few years are enough to make me sick - and to think I don't even know the half of it! My father has told me that he wants me to be shocked at the evil in the world - and believe me, I have been! Sometimes I have not been able to believe that people could be so evil! Ever since I can remember, I have been someone who wanted to believe there was a type of goodness in every person. In my imaginations, the "bad-guys/gals" would never be that bad - they always had a goodish side to them. I couldn't have created a believable bad-guy to save my life! Now, I can see that some people have been given over to depraved minds, and act totally evil - not with some little "goodness" here and there.
 
Forgive me for the detour.........Now, back to the subject at hand;

   We must purpose to be, in a sense, pure white rosebuds - closed, innocent, chaste, undifiled - not only for our future spouses, but also for our Lord. To truly be wholly pure, we must not only purpose to be physically pure - we must also keep our thoughts, actions, words, and agendas completely pure. Not an easy task by any means, but with the loving help of Christ, it is possible!

   Purity can and only be attained if we continually "renew our minds" - Romans 12:2 In other words, do not let yourselves be conformed to the standards of the 'olam hazeh [the present world]. Instead, keep letting yourselves be transformed by the renewing of your minds; so that you will know what God wants and will agree that what he wants is good, satisfying and able to succeed.

   We cannot conform to the standards of this evil world. We must renew our minds so that we will know what God wants. Seems simple, right? That's the beauty of Scripture and of Adonai's (the Lord's) commands - the commands are simple and straight to the point, yet they go in direct opposition to how the world operates, so that it takes determination, willingness, and faith to follow them through. But, if purity is what God wants, we should be willing to undergo anything to do His will.